Emily St. John Mandel.
4 stars out of 5.
The book blurb:
What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.
One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America.
The world will never be the same again.
Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse.
But then her newly hopeful world is threatened.
If civilization was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?
I really enjoyed this book. In my opinion it’s not on the same level of post apocalyptic books like Stephen King’s The Stand, Robert McCammon’s Swan Song or Justin Cronin’s The Passage, then again those are 3 of my favourite ever books but nonetheless it’s still a great read.
The story of The Travelling Symphony and trying to keep art alive in the post apocalyptic world is an intriguing idea and works really well to give the book a unique feel to it. The post apocalyptic world portrayed is believable and not over the top. The characters in both arcs of the book, the flashbacks and current story are all well written and you really feel pulled into and a part of their story.
My only complaint with the book and why I only gave it 4 stars out of 5 and not the whole 5 out of 5 stars is the flashbacks. Now, don’t get me wrong the flashbacks like the book on a whole are well written, really interesting to read and add an extra dimension to the story as you get to learn what happened just before, at the start of and in the years that followed the apocalypse. Slight spoiler-(during the flashbacks you can also guess who The Prophet in the current story arc is). After complaining about and then praising the flashbacks I probably come across as contradictory and I guess I am as while I really did enjoy them, at times I just felt they went on for far to long and there seemed huge percentage gaps (I read the book on the Kindle) between leaving the present story arc and getting back to it and at times I just wanted to get back into that and see what was currently happening. Also I’d have liked more time spent in the present story arc, for example, one part near the end of the book seemed to be tied up far to easily and quickly after just returning to the present story, you thought, ah, buildup to the conclusion time but then it was done with and over and I was left with one of those reading moments where you just think ‘oh, is that it’ but it’s really a minor thing that didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.
To end, this book is an enjoyable read that really pulls you in and while it does have it’s flaws the good points of the book far outweigh the bad and I’d definitely recommend it to any fellow book lovers out there.